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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  March 24, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: a french fighter jet destroyed a libyan plane that breached the no-fly zone. and the battle intensified between government and rebel troops in the western city of misrata. good evening, i'm jim lehrer. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the "newshour" tonight: we update the military operation and get two views on what the u.s. and its allies can do to stop moammar qaddafi's forces. >> lehrer: then, judy woodruff talks to the editor of the yemen times about the growing protests in that arab nation.
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>> they want a life where they don't have to think of future and be equal. >> brown: paul solman has the story of the widening gap in american society between the very rich and the rest of the country. >> the top 1% is living well, and they don't get it. they don't get what is happening to this country and i feel like we're creating a third world country subculture within this country. >> lehrer: and ray suarez looks at new census numbers showing one in six americans is hispanic. >> lehrer: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> you can't manufacture pride, but pride builds great cars. and you'll find in the people at toyota, all across america.
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by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> lehrer: the international campaign of air strikes extended deep into libya today. french warplanes claimed a kill in the no-fly zone. they also raided far south of tripoli to disrupt the flow of mercenaries to the government side. elsewhere, rebels reported gains in the embattled port of misrata killing 30 government snipers. john ray of "independent television news" is in tripoli and reports on the day's events. >> reporter: it was the french who flew the first missions over libya of the weekend. and now it is a french warplane that has destroyed the first libyan jet to break the no-fly zone. a military training aircraft was hit by an air-to-ground missile
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just after it landed near misratah. the seige of the rebel-held town has been eased today, but not yet lifted. many of qaddafi's tanks that wrought havoc here have been pulled back or destroyed by coalition attacks. but the threat has not yet passed. events are hard to verify, but these images, posted to the internet, appear to show snipers yesterday picking targets. in tripoli, the bombing has reached a new intensity, the city shaken by a series of explosions in the early morning, leaving fires burning amid the wreckage of an army transport depot. pictures from state television seem to show a soldier wounded in the attack. authorities say civilians were among the 18 killed. claims impossible to check. in the capital, there are still displays of loyalty played out in front of the international media. this looks like it's part of an
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increasingly desperate and sometimes bizarre propaganda effort. these people say they're going to march all the way to benghazi, even though the route would take them past the fighting in misratah and across rebel frontlines. a week ago, qaddafi's forces were confident of victory. now even among his die-hard supporters, five days of bombing have sown the seeds of doubt. >> brown: in eastern libya, refugees streamed out of the city of ajdabiya. they said the situation there is worsening with no water or power as qaddafi's forces continue shelling the city. the rebels said they need anti- tank weapons, in order to break the siege. in washington, a top pentagon official vice admiral william gortney said u.s. planes are deliberately passing up targets inside cities.
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>> without harming the very people that we're trying to protect. it's a challenge there. that's hard work. that's a very very hard task to do, and we're trying to do it to the best of >> lehrer: the french foreign minister alain zhoop said today the air operation may last days or weeks but not months. for now, he said, government attacks on misrata make it clear that the coalition cannot stop. >> he still has military means on the ground, cannons. and bombarding a hospital, it's a sign that this regime is barbaric and so unacceptable for the international community. so we will carry on the airstrikes. >> lehrer: nato members met again today in brussels, and they moved closer to taking over the libya operation. turkey had opposed that step, but the turkish foreign minister said his government's demands have now been met. he said the u.s. and its partners would hand off control
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to nato within one or two days. >> brown: and we assess the military campaign in libya now. for that we're joined by retired army general jack keane. he was army vice chief of staff when the u.s. invaded afghanistan in 2001. he now has his own consulting firm. and frederic wehrey is a senior policy analyst at the rand corporation. as an air force reserve officer, he served as a military attache in libya in 2009 and then earlier this year. it's a remarkable job in a short period of time. establishing ail no fly zone, i think is something of a misnomer. we've destroyed the air defenses, and the decisive force in libya has always been his ground forces, and we're begining to destroy them. they've got problems with it. on the report, those forces that are committed forces, that is they're engageed with the rebels or in proximity to
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civilians, we have to destroy those forces. to be able to do that we must be groundaire ground teams. air ground teams means put people -- >> we did it with taliban, and drengted the airplanes to the target. we do it every day in afghanistan today. and we did it routinely in iraq >> let me ask, what's your assessment to the situation, and then can you get to that point specifically about putting teams in. >> i would agree with that. the air strikes have been very effective in pummeling his ground foerpss and going offer the command and control and logistics in places like misrata. the key question is whether that's enough to really turn the tide in the favor of the rebels. and i do think the air ground team option is a viable one. although we have to be
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cautious of faulty analogies, the northern alliance model, and also again putting a made in america label on this uprising. >> brown: what do you mean biep a faulty analogy? explain that. what's different here from the earlier case? >> well, again, in afghanistan, there was a fighting force, a guerrilla force that was seasoned. it had a command structure that was experienced in fighting the soviets, and then the taliban. that is just not the case with the opposition. so again, these ground teams can perhaps shift the short term advantage to eject qaddafi's forces from these contested cities. but whether that really paves the way for a rebel march towards tripoli and the downfall of qaddafi, i think is doubtful. >> brown: the administration has said from the beginning no u.s. ground troops would be involved. so what specifically do you
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think is doable? are you talking about u.s. troops or british, french, ? what do you think. >> u.s. troops would be ideal because we have so many of them and they're so experienced. but if that's not in the guards, the u.k. has capability and so does france, and other militarys who have a military suite of air force planes to perform the mission. the mission is for air support. in proximity to ground forces normally fighting in proximity to civilians and avoid fire on civilians. that's the reality of it. the second thing is to pave the way for what i think everyone wants to happen. that is is the removal of qaddafi. the military should be assigned a mission to defeat qaddafi's military. it's defeated the air forces, but it tox+* defeat the structure of ground forces, and committed forces to those in the fight, and uncommitted force who is are not yet in
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the fight. >> brown: but this goes yaunld the mission as stated so far by >> sure. but i think it's something they could agree to if the desire is to permit the rebels to march on tripoli unimpeded to force qaddafi's removal. if that's not in the cards, then this incremental approach that we're taking just to protect the population and we're not able to do that until we get air ground teams on is a step we should stick with. but in my mind, american prestige is clearly on the line in terms of qaddafi. if he stays in power, and we have some kind of a stalemate, that's a totally unsatisfactory outcome. >> brown: what are the risk there is? this goes to the debate that started before the no fly sown began. what are risks of going even further? >> well, i do think we have to be sensitive as to how it mraips out. the way he is brought down is
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perhaps more important than bringing him down. it has to be due to the momentum from within the country. again, i think the near term option could be ejecting his forces from these contested cities, establishing a safe zone. he presides over a rump state, and left increasingly isolated around tripoli, and a variety of pressures are brought to bear on them, political, economic, diplomatic. there are perhaps inducements made to key tribes, members of the inner circle, and slowly, you constrict the regime and you bring about his removal in that manner. >> brown: general, we just heard the news there's an agreement from nato to take over. now what new command control type questions -- and the the kind of things you're calling for, how might that be impacted by nato in charge of this? >> well, nato is experienced in terms of the headquarters that thaip have.
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so i suspect that there will be a road to a smooth transition in terms of command and control. i don't know what headquarters will be selected. i know they were thinking about the headquarters in naples which is commanded by an american. so i think that transition would be relative smooth. the issue is much larger than that in terms whaf is our policy. what is your strategy to achieve that policy. now are we going to stick with this very limited policy of just protect the people, or are we going to push out and assist the rebels to removal qaddafi, or at least put so much pressure on qaddafi's inner circle thal they try to make a deal. qaddafi's draws strength from military and personal security forces. if we eliminate that military, the pressure there is enormous. >> brown: but you heard earlier from the admirmmiral talking about avoiding bombing
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the cities because of the fear of collateral damage. is there not that risk if you ramp things up the way you're talking about that more civilians will >> l the mission that we have right now is to protect the people. that's the mission. and i would expand that to defeat the military. >> brown: how do you do that? >> we have forces engaged with them, and we have a process do do that. putting air ground teamots ground who will control the aircraft. they will direct the pilot and direct the bombs, sometimes laser designate the bombs to the targelt. we've got precision bombs to do that, and specially trained pilots and special munitions to do that. so there's a mechanism that we could use to protect those civilians who are being impacted by those forces. >> mr. wehrey what's your
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reaction about doing just that about bombing in urban areas? >> well, again, these air ground teams could result in a greater degree of precision that would avoid precisely that danger. but again, this goes back to the question -- i mean that's a tactical solution. the larger issue about bringing about his downfall has to take into account that there is a vacant support in tripoli among the tribes, among his sons. key units commanded by his sons that will likely fight to the bitter end. so simply puting in the ground teams i don't think removes those obstacles to his ground downfall, and the second point is the sort of government that will follow him, and are we taking steps to create an arena for the opposition to come together to hammer out their differences to organize themselves for legitimate leadership to emerge as we did at the conference
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>> brown: let me ask you, general jeanne, we heard this last for months. does that sound plausible or does it depend on how the mission is defined? >> it depends on the end desired. if you're trying to establish a free zone around the stalemate from the east separated from the west, i think our military presence will stay longer. i think if you had a policy that assisted the rebels in pushing qaddafi out, you could do that actually much sooner, because then it would be all in, spoe to speak. i agree we need a political strategy in terms whaf comes next, and also a political strategy and some recognition of the opposition movement that already exists in the country. >> brown: already, general jack jeane, and
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>> lehrer: still to come on the "newshour": the mounting protests in yemen; the growing distance between the rich and the not-so-rich in the u.s. and the new america as seen in the latest census results... but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: the government of libya allegedly demanded in 2009 that oil companies pay its fine in the pan am bombing over lockerbie, scotland. the fine totaled $1.5 billion. "the new york times" reported today that 15 companies were warned of serious consequences for their oil leases, if they did not pay. the companies were not named. the times reported most refused to go along, but others agreed, including several based in the u.s. syrian president bashar al- assad pledged today to consider lifting restrictions on political freedoms and civil liberties. the opposition rejected the offer, and up to 20,000 people marched in daraa in the south. hospital officials there said police killed at least 37 protesters on wednesday. media access to the marches was restricted, but there were
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reports of sporadic gunfire in the city. in japan, engineering crews labored again to stabilize that damaged nuclear plant. and, officials appealed for an end to panic buying, driven by fears of radiation. in tokyo, workers handed out bottled water to families with infants, those most at risk from radiation in tap water. at the same time, new readings showed the levels were safe again. >> ( translated ): i am not too worried as tv reports say it is not terribly risky. but, as i have small kids, i am grateful that the ward officials are distributing water like this. >> sreenivasan: officials also advised people not to hoard water and other supplies, even as many store shelves were emptied. tokyo's governor was among those trying to convince people that the crisis was over, even publicly drinking a glass of tap water. but many were still wary. at the city's meiji shrine, some steered clear of the water normally used in a cleansing
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ritual. and this local preschool opted to stick with purified water for cooking and drinking. water warnings remained in force of two of tokyo's neighboring prefectures-- chiba and saitama. radiation levels also tested dangerously high in hitachi, located about 70 miles south of the fukushima dai-ichi nuclear plant. two workers at the plant were hospitalized with radiation burns today after they stepped in contaminated water. but crews did get the lights on in the central control room for the first time since the earthquake and tsunami hit. a powerful earthquake struck northeastern myanmar, today. it had a magnitude of 6.8, with several strong aftershocks. the quake hit near the border with northern thailand and laos. the region is known as the "golden triangle" and is a center of asia's opium production. the tremors were felt across much of southeastern asia. at least one person was killed. a roadside bomb has killed two british soldiers fighting with the nato force in afghanistan. officials said today they'd been due to return home to britain in just six days.
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meanwhile, in khost province, a nato helicopter gunship accidentally killed two civilians while targeting suspected insurgents. portugal inched closer to financial collapse today as political turmoil gripped the country. the prime minister resigned on wednesday after parliament rejected his latest austerity measures. he said opposition parties took away the government's ability to continue running the country. there's now a growing likelihood that portugal will need a european bailout, as greece and ireland did last year. on wall street, stocks rose on reports of stronger corporate earnings. the dow jones industrial average gained 84 points to close at 12,170. the nasdaq rose 38 points to close at 2,736. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: next tonight, the arab revolution boils in the nation of yemen. judy woodruff has that story. >> woodruff: yemen's streets are becoming increasingly violent with clashes between government troops and protesters over the
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attempted ouster of long-time president ali abdullah saleh. last friday more than 40 demonstrators were killed by security forces during fighting in the capital sana'a. within days, a top military figure and longtime ally of saleh-- general ali mohsen-- announced he now supports the opposition and a number of military units followed his lead. >> ( translated ): the regime has committed all crimes and ugly massacres. we support you. >> woodruff: mohsen is seen by many as yemen's second most powerful figure. he said today he has no desire to take power himself. president saleh warned this week that dissent within the military could lead to civil war. but in a surprise move this afternoon he offered amnesty to military personnel who have committed foolishness and defected. yesterday, the country's
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parliament gave the president sweeping emergency powers. the suspension of the constitution now allows for arrest and detention without due process and bans further protests. saleh has been in power since 1978 holding office through a civil war, and a number of uprisings and militant campaigns. his country, with a population of about 24 million, is the poorest in the middle east, but in recent years, it has become an important u.s. ally in the fight against al qaeda. the group has a significant presence in yemen through its affiliate, al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. earlier this week, u.s. defense secretary robert gates worried aloud about how the trouble in yemen could affect the broader war on terror. >> well, i don't think it's my we are obviously concerned about the instability in yemen. we consider al-qaida in the
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arabian peninsula, which is largely located in yemen, to be perhaps the most dangerous of all of the franchises of al- qaida right now. so instability and diversion of attention from dealing with a.q.a.p. is certainly my primary concern about the situation. >> woodruff: in the meantime, saleh has offered to step down at the end of this year, and call the presidential election for next january, instead of september 2013 when his term ends. but that hasn't quieted the chorus calling for him to go now. today, the leader of the country's largest tribe said saleh should step down immediately. and protesters insisted they will go on pressing for that to happen. they've announced a new round of "day of departure" protests for tomorrow, despite the new prohibitions. for more on what happens next in yemen, we turn to nadia al- sakkaf, the editor and publisher
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of the "yemen times." she has been in washington for a conference of the international women's media foundation. >> woodruff: thank you very much for being with us. since you lost your country, what do they say is the situation right now? >> today a standoff, if you like, between the government affiliated authorities, the army and the protecters, and whoever is backing them up he has the power. >> woodruff: and the general -- >> yes. we are waiting to see what happens tomorrow, because on friday is an anniversary. >> woodruff: how significant was that defection by the general? >> that is the point. that is the turning point for yemen. it turns the power balance, and now the president realizes that he's in trouble. >> woodruff: but why so significant?
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he was -- there are a number of generals. what is it about him? >> he's the second in command military-wise after the president. >> woodruff: so today the protests have gone on. the president has moved up to the time he said he'll leave. he said i'll be out of office by the end of the year. but the protesters are saying toos not soon enough. why not? >> because he has done this three times before in history, and through has 33 years of control of yemen. he has said three times he's not gk to run again, and he has. so the problem is credibility. people not now. they're afraid if they wait until the end of the year things will change. >> woodruff: tell us, nadia, about the opposition, the protest. is it a woman who was fundamental in getting this started? >> yes, they're in a unique situation. the process was started by a woman, and a number of women,
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and alongside with men they lob eped the students in the streets, and the women are part of the support group. they gave them food and blankets. i seen a woman throwing hot water on soldiers when they were trying to attack the protecters from her window. so we need not forget the role of women in this magnificent time. the protesters are made up of opposition parties. so you have the mrlt entity, the youth entity, and the society issue. and i think families, like the father, the mother and the children all with the flags and chanting for a union. >> woodruff: so what is it that the protesters want? what kind of country do they want? >> they want dignity. they want a life where they don't have to think twietion about the future. they want a life where they feel equal. equal in front of the law and equal opportunity for all of them. >> woodruff: what kind of political system?
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>> democracy, definitely. they want democracy. and yemenis want faishs fairness and justice. they don't want to be treated differently if you're north, south or from this tribe. >> woodruff: so when officials are worry that if the president leaves there would be a power vacuum, they don't know what it would mean and it might hurt the u.s. in the fight against al-queda, what's your sense of what the yemeni people believe in all that? >> first of all, it's not justify thad sala is the only thing standing between them and al-queda. how do you know the next presidential council sent an ally against terrorism. it could be better. terrorism sent just jihady. jihady. >> it's poverty, it's unemployment, it's hardship. and if we tackle hardship, and if we tackle the roots behind
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something like this, we make sure that the world is a safer place. >> woodruff: so how do yemenis -- and saying they're worried what will happen if the president goes? >> the yemenioose-i don't know if i speak for the whole of yemenis. we understand that the u.s. is backing sala. we know that they're taking a stand with him. in fact, during the protest, a lot of yemenis have arms made in the usa. they showed them to the cam ra. look, the u.s. is backing him against us. the u.s. is killing us. so the u.s. needs to come out visibly and say this is our position. they haven't done that. what they're saying is that they support dialogue and a peaceful transition, and at the same time they condemn the protesters, and more than 52 people were killed. >> woodruff: which is what happened last week. and you've had a rapid change of events since then.
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nadia, you were telling me a moment ago that you and rgs have concerns about what happened. you were saying that many people believe president sala will end up going sooner than later, but you're worried about what happened in the new political system after that. >> the world is concerned about the transition phase. the world is concerned about how the transition -- what is coming after, and who is coming after, and the transition to power. that, in my opinion, is not the problem. the problem is after that what happens. we have to face the negativity that sala left behind. he is going to leave us with no money, and there will be resentedment and the common enemy will be gone. so they will turn around and see that there's nothing left to fight for. and the jobs that they wanted are want going to be created overnight. so we're going to be facing a lot of disappointed youths waiting for opportunitys to
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happen, and nobody has the answer beforehand. >> woodruff: and you're saying that for you, for someone who has season all this change in your country, toos your greatest concern? >> we need to see this coming and anticipate it and we can't absorb all the anger and resentment. that's why we need to support the society, and support the medeia. we need to create systems to give youth a cause -- to give them ownership and get them involved in building their country again. >> woodruff: fahdia, editor in cheech of the yemen times thank you for coming by to talk with us. thank you. >> lehrer: we have two stories now about major changes in the portrait of american life. the first is on equality-- a widening gap that's hard to close even as the economy is improving. "newshour" economics correspondent paul solman has the story.
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part of his ongoing reporting on "making sense of financial news." >> the top 1% is living well, and they don't get it. >> reporter: denise barrant has, like millions of americans, lost her job in middle management. a republican who stumped for massachusetts senator scott brown, she sees increasing inequality in america, her growing distance from those on top. >> they don't get what is happening to this country and i feel like we're creating a third world country subculture within this country. >> reporter: the stock market's up, corporate profits, too. things are supposedly improving. but tell that to community organizer cheri andes. >> my husband and i together make what i would consider to be good money. and yet we're really struggling. we've got $26,000 worth of debt. the latest of that debt is $5,000 that we've put on a credit card to put braces on my middle son and the interest we're paying on that is 29.25%
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>> reporter: while the u.s. economy returned to its long- term growth rate last quarter, tens of millions of americans feel left behind, immobilized. like security guard bobby hicks. >> i am the most insecure security officer you'll meet because i'm worried. right now, i live paycheck to paycheck. and i do, i want better for my daughter, but i mean she realizes that daddy can't get it for her. >> reporter: finally, cookie sheers, single mother of three, who works at a boston nonprofit, earns $34,000 a year fully 50% above the poverty line. so she's not officially "poor." but, she says: >> as a parent, you want your children to succeed and do better than you have. and yet, i find mine working to please me, or to help me, and that's just not the way i wanted it. that's not the way anyone wants it for their family. >> reporter: so the american dream, your kids will do better than you, neither you nor your kids think that that's the case?
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>> no, we all feel stuck in a rut. we feel like you can't move, you can't grow. like you're just at that edge of water where you can come up for air every few minutes but never long enough to feel that you've accomplished something, you always have to go back down. >> like she says, i feel like once i've reached that part where my nostrils can come out the top, life comes back and it just steps right on my face and says: you know what? it's not time for you to come up for air yet! >> reporter: the numbers support the stories. economic inequality in america, widening steadily since 1980, grew during the financial crisis with the top 5% of americans owning 65% of national wealth by mid-2009, up from 62% two years before. the losers were the bottom 80%, whose share of wealth fell during the crisis. nearly half had negative net worth by mid-2009. >> i'm worse off.
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my parents owned a house. their parents owned a house. i'm just trying to live this standard of living that i grew up with, but they've outsourced our jobs or they've just said: "you know, we don't need you." and the top people are still making a lot of money and then congratulating themselves at how efficient they've been. >> reporter: meanwhile, her negative net worth just keeps getting more negative due to debt. >> just being able to provide for yourself and your family. you have to live on credit! and so if you have less of an income, they charge you more interest which means the money you borrow actually costs you more, the fees for your accounts are more because you don't have the minimum balances that they require, everything costs more. >> reporter: cheri andes assembled these members of the greater boston interfaith organization. she felt their pain and her own. >> my parents had high school degrees, worked working-class
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jobs, owned a home. i'm first college-educated in my family, and we struggle every month, we're barely staying afloat. we're trying to refinance our home right now and our debt to income ratio is so high and the value of our home has dropped so much that it's not clear that we're going to be able to get the refinance. >> reporter: are you living better than your parents lived? >> no. we're definitely not living better than my parents. and i don't understand that. >> reporter: widening inequality is one problem, with the top 10% of american families-- those at $109,000 a year or more-- now earning half of all american income. but, at least historically, there was always the very real hope of moving up, at least across generations. >> that isn't true anymore. >> reporter: robert putnam helped run harvard's inequality project. >> one of our competitive advantages as a society used to be that we were very mobile and
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we were constantly getting new infusions of talent and so on at the top, and people down near the bottom had a hope that if they didn't do well, their kids could do well. in the past in america a poor kid could grow up in a tenement, go off to city college, do well and himself end up in the next generation pretty well-off. that's what's becoming less likely in america and i think that undermines a crucial part of the american myth or the american dream or the american social contract. >> reporter: adds economist sam bowles: >> america is distinct in the extent to which inequality is inherited from generation to generation. the kids of rich parents have a strong tendency to be rich and the kids with poor parents are very, very likely to be poor to that's one of the things which i think americans find most shocking. that's a huge discrepancy from what we think of as the land of opportunity. >> it is. it's frustrating. what do you tell your child?
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how do you promote to your child that they can be successful when you yourself don't feel successful? >> reporter: the stumbling block, says cookie sheers, is that key ingredient of upward mobility: a college degree. >> 25 years ago, i was thinking about going to college, trying to better myself so that i could advance in employment. and here it is 25 years later, i am still thinking about going to college and advancing myself in employment! i've made several attempts but each time i had to back down strictly because of finances, that they're hard to accumulate, to simply buy one book. >> my daughter-- she is nine years old now. what is the cost of a basic college education going to be for her in 10 years if things are going as they're going? >> reporter: but, says denise barrant: >> in our family, everybody is college educated, most of us have masters, myself i'm unemployed, my brother is unemployed. people used to think it is a guarantee, it is not. to invest $200,000 plus in an education with no guarantee that
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you have a job, is scary. >> reporter: as for bobby hicks' job, "it's inequality," he says, that makes it possible. >> in the security industry, you know, there is a demand for jobs because the rich want to protect their assets. >> reporter: but those jobs are low pay and low prestige, despite the high stakes. >> a pressure release valve for a domestic water in the building broke. and there was water flooding, and this was on the 6th floor. if their servers got wet, it would have wiped out the entire east coast for this one particular company. and bob $9 an hour, to the rescue. make the call! counting on you! all right? but if i screwed up, you're gone. >> reporter: sam bowles calls this "guard labor." >> for every three workers in america that's producing something, there is one worker who's just keeping the lid on. these are the private security personnel, these are the police officers, these are the prison guards, these are the armed forces. these are the people whose job
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it is just basically to maintain the society's property rights and its... its social organization. >> reporter: bobby hicks has lived the change. >> it felt like... it felt like it went from here to here. >> reporter: here? what's up there? >> this is where life is right now, and this is where i am. >> reporter: so the top of the income distribution has grown by leaps and bounds as you say and you're stuck in the same place? >> i'm still right down here, yeah, absolutely. >> reporter: cookie, are you better off than you were say 15 years ago? >> i haven't changed from then to now. there are days that i walk to work because i couldn't afford $1.25 to get on the bus. there are days that i sacrifice a meal because i want to make sure my children eat. so no, it has not changed at all and it only gets worse. >> reporter: gets worse for these and many other americans, while getting better for the relatively few at the top. >> brown: and finally tonight, to another aspect of a changing america: ray suarez looks at the
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newest census data. >> suarez: racial and ethnic minorities accounted for 90% of growth in the u.s. over the past decade and hispanics were by far the largest part of that increase. that's one of the headlines from new census data on race and migration. latinos made up more than half of the population growth, most rapidly in the south. today, one of every six americans-- about 50 million people-- are hispanic. the data also found more than 50% of children in at least ten states are minorities. many of the cities with the largest african-american populations including chicago and detroit saw declines as residents moved to suburbs and to the south. all the 10 largest metropolitan areas grew over the past decade, with growth concentrated outside the urban centers. we get perspective now with three people who watch this closely. william frey is a demographer with the brookings instiution. isabel wilkerson is the author of "the warmth of other suns:
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the epic story of america's great migration." and mark lopez is the associate director of the pew hispanic center. let me start with you. the hispanic numbers seem to be the headline catching everybody's attention. why is this? >> l it's significant because this 50 million benchmark, is in everybody's name, and it's significant because it accounts for more than half of the growth in the united states. but in addition, it's significant if you juxtapose it against the small growth of the white anglo population, grew less than two percent the past decade. this is a way of looking at our country which is kind of aging with respect to the old established white population, and the growth of the youthful latino population, much more so than the last decade. we're seeing a lot of of the communities would have lost more people, and would not
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have gained as much were it not for this growing younger latino population in all parts of the population. >> and it's no longer just the border states and the coast, is it? >> no, the story of hispanic population grows in all parts of the country. whether it's california, texas or even george aalabama or tennessee. particularly in the southeast, we saw hispanic populations in those areas tennessee and arkansas and north carolina double. in the case of georgia it was doubling from 435,000 to over 850,000 in the last decade. but yes, in many cases, for alabama, for example, a relatively small base. >> reporter: the story playing out with the census seems to be the reverse of the one you told in the book. the grandchildren and great grandchildren of the people
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who left the south are coming back. why? >> i think it's a continuation of the search for people in the american mainstream. i think the migration is going in multiple directions. it's a suburb been the cities of the migration itself, in other words, the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are moving outside of the cities their grandparents and parents liveed in as part of the great piigration, and others are returning to their ancestral homeland of the south. a are also moving to atlanta, houston and charlotte. >> >> suarez: what does this mean for the south, much of the last hundred years, the south was a place where minorities fled. it was the most uniformly native born of all the regions of the country. is it a new place now?
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>> it's my contention that the dispersal, the outpouring of people in the south, in fact, the pressure on the south and the north helped to change the south, and maybe the more welcoming place which occurred since the civil rights era, and in many places made it a more welcoming place for african-americans to return to their homeland, but for lateen opens and even northern whites and finding a place that is more to their liking. more open and more welcoming. and i think it's a positive thing, in a way. it's a dispersal of people who have been parjinalized and concentrateed in one area. so now you have people all over the country who have been marginalized before concentrated in one area. now mainstreaming into the rest of the country. >> mar >> suarez: mark lopez with the numbers show declining in chicago and new york, are
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latinos taking their place? >> in some places latino growth across the country. in many cases lateen opens had a large presence, and their presence increased such as los angeles, where almost half of the the population in the city of los angeles is hispanic background. so we see this growth in the hispanic population in all parts of the country. it's not just along the south, but it's also in many other metropolitan areas around the country. >> suarez: is the america of the future taking shape in these numbers? one piece of data that stuck out at me, the young population in this country grew by three percent, and minority youths grew by 22%. >> that's right, and there's an absolute decline in the young white population in the united states. and a small absolute decline in the african-american young population. so it's other minorities fueling all the growth. >> 46 states with white
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children had a decline. and only the half the states gained children. and the reason they did is because they were getting more hispanic kids. so our future labor force, and the future electorate and all thf is really not the aging white population anymore. not only because they have fewer children. it's because they have an age structure, and fewer women of child bearing years. and it's a more youthful hispanic population taking over. what it means is we need to pay attention to the diversity of the young people in the schools and all the government service that is we offer. it's something -- it's a window on the future, but something we need to act on now. so isabelle wilkerson, i guess state who is have no experience with e.s.l. teachers are going to get some soon? >> that's what i mean by main streaming. it's an opportunity for the entire country to experience a
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diversity that only some parts of the country have had an opportunity to experience. i think it givens us all a chance to see how the country has truly grown. we have come a long, long way from the earlier parts of the the 20th century when certain parts of the country were not welcoming to diverse people. and i also see this as an opportunity for people who are in the suburbs who see the suburbs changing. this is in some ways the subushinization of the african-americans, and a way of looking at what's happening in the city as they populate with the traditional african-american constituency. we searing the political power they've been able to build up over the years since the great migration is now being dispersed. and that's something we'll be observing in the next few years as well, and > decades. >> suarez: there's consequences in the great
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lakes states. michigan and puter puerl puerto the only one that is lost in absolute terms. but holding level over the last 10 years in a lot of wisconsin counties, illinois, indiana, so on. >> that's absolutely true. and again, this is part of the country that for a variety of reasons, it hasn't caught on. but demographic aspect of these countries, it's aging white population. just don't have the utility. and they're dependent going back to the latino growth again. 18 states in this country, half of their growth in the last decade came from latinos. we're talking about states like nebraska, iowa, kansas. not just florida and texas and california. so i think it's a benchmark decade in some ways because especially in the slow growing stateds, there are opportunities with the new immigration waves to help bolster up those populations. of course, with all the other
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strategies you need to take to create jobs in the economy. >> suarez: mark, do we know yet, has the census bureau let on the yet how much much the latino influence comes from natural growth of an already resident population versus legal and illegal immigration? >> l the census in 2010 itself won't tell us about the nativity of the individuals, but we follow other sources from the hispanic center over the last decade. one of the things strike being this decade for hispanics is most of the population growth in hispanics has come from native born birth ass opposed to immigration. and that's important for the fwroegt of hispanic population this decade. but in the 90s, more growth in the hispanic population came from immigration. so looking forward, if trends continue, then we'll continue to see the native born playing an increasingly important role in hispanic population growth through the decades.
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>> suarez: they don't count whether a member of the household was born outside of the united states? >> that's correct. >> suarez: that piece of data won't make a difference. what about this city? they've had a tough road. only one big city outside the south and west gue, and that was new york. but everywhere else, a lot declined. >> that's right. and the suburbinization continues. and we say the black flight, like the white flight for decades. and in the midwest, and the northeast the suburbinization, and other regions of the country. citys are important, but a lot of them have to face a downsize population, and with a very different mix. a lot of these cities aren't just black and white anymore. chicago is about a third white, a third black, and a third combination of hispanic and asians, a very different
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image of a city from 20 years ago. >> suarez: does it have a cultural impact, isabelle. chicago population went down for the first time frp. >> i think one of the things that is quite startling when you think about the transfer of the flow and inheritance, you might say of one group to another, of the african-americans who came into the cities during the 20th century. they inherited the places this eastern europes and southern europeans had been living in, and now they are leaving and in some ways they're selling to people who had been the children and grandchildren of those who had been part of white flight. where you get the gentrification in some neighborhoods makes for an interesting combination of transfer of culture. and on top of that the transfer of culture between the arrival of lateen opens who are taking a different role than african-americans
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had. i see a lot of movement. i think the world is seeing a lot of movement and transfer of culture all the wiaround which is only serve to expose all of us to more of what makes america what it is. >> suarez: isabelle wilkerson, mark lopez, thank you all. >> lehrer: again, the other major developments of the day: coalition air strikes extended deep into libya and rebels claimed gains in the embattled port of misrata. nato moved closer to taking control of the libya operation, after addressing turkey's concerns. thousands of people protested in southern syria, and rejected a government offer to consider political reforms. and japanese officials appealed to people to stop panic buying of food and water in response to radiation scares. and to hari sreenivasan for what's on the "newshour" online. hari? >> sreenivasan: there's more on the new census numbers: two public media journalists explore the sharp decline in detroit's population and "patchwork nation's" dante chinni writes about that city's future. paul's look at the growing income gap continues on our "making sense" page where you can compare your salary with your neighbor's. spencer michels previews his
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upcoming story about scientists on the west coast of the u.s. looking at the threat of a tsunami. he asks what can and can't be done to save lives. plus, jeff looks at reaction to the google books deal struck down by a federal judge earlier this week. that's on "art beat." all that and more is on our web site: newshour.pbs.org. >> lehrer: and again to our honor roll of american service personnel killed in the iraq and afghanistan conflicts. we add them as their deaths are made official and photographs become available. here, in silence, are nine more.
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>> brown: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm jeffrey brown. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and byron york, among others. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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